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17 Jan 2022

Winterflood Monthly & Annual Review - January 2022

Annual Reports

Taking stock after the storm

2021 was a positive year for investment trusts, with a return of +12.8% for the FTSE All Share Closed End Investments Index. However, the sector lagged the wider UK market for the first time in five years, with the FTSE All Share Index rising 18.3%. Despite this, the long-term performance of the sector remains strong, up 232% over the last ten years compared with +111% for the FTSE All Share. In addition, it has outperformed the UK market in seven of the last ten calendar years.

Last year was an exceptional year for issuance, with £15.2bn raised across the sector, 94% higher than in the previous year and 70% up on 2019. Last year saw 15 IPOs, compared with eight in 2020, including nine in the broader Infrastructure sector. This sector saw 37% of all monies raised, while Equity – UK/Global remained popular (21%) as a number of funds in this segment benefited from strong regular issuance programmes. Regular tap issuance increased once again last year, up 32% to £4,234m, compared with £3,199m in 2020.

Compared with 2020, when the sector average discount dramatically widened to 22% in the March sell-off, discount volatility was relatively low last year. After starting 2021 at 2.5%, the sector traded in a range between 1.5% and 5.5% and mostly in a band between 2% and 4%. The average discount in 2021 was 3.1% and ended the year at 1.6%.